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Posted on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 9:59 a.m.

Mondays Work: What should I do with my life?

By Nick Synko

I am often asked for a book recommendation regarding the subject of finding one’s mission or purpose in life. One of my favorites is "What Am I Supposed to Do With My Life" by The Rev. Douglas Brouwer, the former Pastor of First Presbyterian Church here in Ann Arbor.

While written from a Christian perspective, I believe that anyone with a desire to explore how to live a life that integrates the use of their talents with a personal mission, all to create a sustainable income, will find this book a highly worthwhile read. I’ll even go so far as to say this is the most authentically written book on the subject of career discernment that I have come across.

After I read his book, I called The Rev. Brouwer and met with him on several occasions. He is as genuine as is this book; his counseling experiences have led to insights useful to anyone who not only wants a job but also wants a balanced life and career.

While many sentences and paragraphs are highlighted in my copy of Brouwer’s book, for now consider this passage: “When I think about vocation I think about something far bigger than myself. I think about something far bigger than what my inner voice might be telling me... I think about God's plan. I think about how I might fit into that plan and be a part of it and participate meaningfully in it. I think about God calling me to places I would never have considered on my own.” (pages 6-7)

Condensing what I took from his book and conversations with Rev. Brouwer, his influence has led me to develop three questions that I now believe are central to helping a person evaluate the long-term “internal sustainability” of a career opportunity. As you consider a specific career option, ask yourself,

1. Will this opportunity allow me to be more authentically who I was created to be?
2. Will this opportunity lead me to finding more peace in my life?
3. Will this opportunity lead me to greater opportunity to serve others?

Allow me to emphasize, of course, whatever you do must also lead to a sustainable income. We all understand. I’m just saying that if you are going to earn a living in some form or fashion, why not choose a career path that allows you to answer “yes” to these three questions?

This week’s career question is the set of three questions above. If you answered “yes,” then you are highly likely to be on a path that will lead to a career for a lifetime. If your answers are “no,” then it may be time to read What Am I Supposed to Do With My Life.

Send your career-related questions to me at To learn more, visit our website at Synko Associates or follow this column each Monday in



Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

Don't see the need to feel so "special." What's wrong with finding a position that you have a talent performing, work to the best of your ability, and be satisfied with the outcome because you enjoy using the skills learned and perfected?

Ellen Turner

Tue, Mar 1, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

Ignatz, Regarding #1 Will this opportunity allow me to be more authentically who I was created to be? I don't think the idea here is that there is only ONE thing you were created to be. It's not like applying for a job, and hoping you're hired for the ONE and only job. Perhaps expanding the possibilities in that question will help it FIT more. Good Luck!


Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

Questions 2 and 3 are great and can be applied to anyone. Question 1, not so much. I'm not down with the whole pre-determination deal.